The state of college student mental health

The emotional well-being of students has become a top priority in higher education as mental health challenges among college students have risen significantly in recent years.

According to the annual Healthy Minds Study (HMS), in 2021 more than 80% of students reported that emotional or mental health difficulties hurt their academic performance one or more days in the previous month. Forty-one percent of college students screened positive for major to moderate depression. A third screened positive for anxiety. And 2020 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that suicide risk is highest for adults ages 18 to 25. HMS found that in 2021, 13% of college students had thoughts about suicide. These numbers are even higher in underrepresented and marginalized groups on campus.

We can all play an active role in addressing these alarming statistics by fostering and sustaining a campus culture that supports the mental health and well-being of our students and colleagues. Faculty are some of the first people students turn to when they are struggling. That gives you a unique opportunity to support student mental health and create a culture of care on campus.